murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

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A screwed up life that is beautifully random.

“One in 25 ordinary Americans has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty*.”  Regret, for example, is simply not an emotion in their range, or that for which they are capable.  In this unbelievable read, “The sociopath next door” (Stout, ph.d), the author details and reveals that four percent of ordinary people have an undetected  mental disorder whereby a complete absence of conscience allows for doing anything at all and feeling absolutely no guilt, shame or remorse.
For those of you that follow this blog, we know that is certainly not me.  My chaos, as it turns out, isn’t punishment at all, but rather, a possible form of enlightenment.   Who would have guessed?  “According to probability theory, random events can run in streaks.  It’s like patterned disorder, and in nature it creates beautiful things.”**
I was intrigued by the concept and googled disruptive patterning.  I love the idea that nature protects its young with this innate feature- example, the giraffe.  Outside of the jungle, it is obvious and must take terrific effort to hide, but in its natural habitat and protecting its young, only movement or shadow make it visible to the predator.
If life choices are beautifully random, and we do in fact live in patterned disorder from time to time, how do I stand still enough to protect myself when it happens?  And if I can’t, how do I steer away from the predator amidst us if it isn’t obvious- example, “the sociopath next door”?
We can’t.  We can only trust our intuition when it calls us and follow our heart toward our “right life”.  Steer away from feelings that are toxic or big red flags that we know don’t feel right.
So as difficult as my annus horribilis may have felt, it was instead a pop in the nose to make change. I know I am capable of pain, sorrow, anger, frustration, great love and of course, great loss.  My body knew too…..and maybe, just maybe, steered me in this direction for a better, bigger, healthier reason still to come.
Namaste,
Mel
* http://www.randomhouse.com/book/174276/the-sociopath-next-door-by-martha-stout-phd/
** “May we help you? Martha Beck (Finding your way in a Wild New World (Free Press))
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women really are like spaghetti

The bear cave is so booooooring.  They won’t let me back to work until the thyroid hormone is up to par, but sleeping most of the day and taking a shower as big cross off’s on my daily list are simply not giving me enough productivity to boost my self esteem.  There is simply no satisfaction in emptying the dishwasher.

I even purchased yarn and plan to check You Tube to learn to knit.  My daughter asked me if we would get a cat if I learned to knit.  Oh dear, what does that say about the direction my life has taken?  We don’t even like cats.

It did strike me as I was waking from a nap today that they let me operate a moving vehicle, but Tuesday as I drove my sweet girl to her last basketball game, we waited for a stop light at a stop sign.  (There is a word that should go here.)  And yes, in my absence of a normal stream of consciousness, it seems the vernacular should be clear.  But no.

To make my ‘come/go brain availability’ worse, once I did arrive at the game, I tripped up (yes, up) the bleachers in front of the entire junior high crowd.  Thankfully, I had on rockin’ boots and makeup.  (Of all days, this is where a blue velour dance mom jumpsuit would have been ideal.)

Reality is, the lack of an important hormone and a lot of sleep make for whacked out thinking in my awake time.  A few examples:

–  What do ice truckers think about while driving down the big hill?

– More than one of my MU XO sorority sisters used the term “kick cancer’s f’n balls” in notes to me.  The fact that I noticed the trend probably says something.  Yes, we all graduated.

– They rate blogs.  The previous bullet may have made R.  What could qualify as a G?  Princess stories, recipes and learning to knit, I suppose?

– A women’s brain really is like spaghetti.  Is a man’s really as compartmentalized as a waffle? (another great read, btw)

– If you have a glass of wine just prior to the radiation, is it a nuclear cocktail?

– Why do kids love gummy worms?  They are worms.

– I really like my new t-shirt, “If dance were any easier, they would call it football.”  Won’t however choose for the next MU home game.

– I should have sent my blog to the Junior Mint people.

Cheers to my friends who sent me goodies and notes and the future of a clear head where words don’t disappear just before I type.  No wonder they won’t let me back to work quite yet.

Mel

http://www.amazon.com/Men-Are-Like-Waffles–Women-Spaghetti/dp/0736904867/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1358464986&sr=1-2&keywords=women+are+like+spaghetti+men+are+like+waffles

Back to Seussville I go.

As I prepared my thoughts today for a Toastmaster Club speech this week, I can’t help but look at all of the amazing, ridiculous, loving, silly, proud, bold, ‘look back and laugh’ moments I have been gifted.  Makes me wonder if we all tried this blogging thing, would we have the same list of silliness, or does God simply want me to fully enjoy my experiences and see what I have, rather than what I don’t?

I have been gifted experiences most folks won’t ever see for themselves (yes, many ups and many downs, sideways, backwards and forwards, as a Dr. Seuss character would naturally embrace), so perhaps, getting to tell my stories is a way for others to hear all of us have a combination of ridiculousness and awesomeness to share with the next generation  For example, jumping in Carlyle Lake at 19 degrees on New Years Day to take home a Polar Bear Plunge title; dating a wild, white-collar-by-day corporate boy but title-carrying national rodeo star by weekend who took me snowmobiling on a lake no less; hearing my toddler yell “mama has a tattoo” in a public pool; living with cancer but being mistaken for a pharma rep while in for testing; not thinking and publicly pawing Kevin Costner in his restaurant during my first Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; knowing a bath house in Tokyo is really just a spa where they let you eat loads of sushi and wear a kick arse Kimono, and learning to drive a motorcycle solo just because I could (really, how hot would I be on a hot pink Harley?  ok, yes, parked and not moving), etc.

All however, have been damn fun, laughable and worth taking on great adventure and things that feel scary. Life is short, and we have so many choices!!!  Why do we wish away time?  Who picked the five day work/ two day vacation concept- why not the reverse? There is so much to experience and enjoy.  Dr. Seuss would pick fun- “Oh the places you go”.  

Do you have a “bucket list”?  And if so, how much is complete, and when will you start?  My bucket list last year included a zip line and a flash mob.  This year, I did both. So now the bucket list deserves more items and that translates to more fun and more stories.  What will I add that both scares and challenges?  Only the future of my ever-changing Seussville journey knows.

Will I get myself into trouble?  Probably.  Will it be worth the chance and story for my daughter to hear (much, much later)?  Abso-freaken-lutely!

Life really is cyclical.

I walked away from this blog a month of so ago, and an old friend specifically said, “If your blog helps YOU…then don’t let idle chatter stop you.”  Dana’s words stuck.  And ironically, this is a woman I didn’t know very well years ago, but since the diagnosis, has privately cheered me along without knowing the strength she carries today and likely gives to others with these same cheering comments.  I know her inner strength more today than years ago.  Who would have guessed?  This is the power of blogging and reaching out when we are touched by words.  Thank you, old friend.

As I prepared my speech today, I realize; 1.  I believed I could, so I did, 2. I have a lot of stories for someone at this age.  (Did my grandparents really have this much silliness (or were they simply private and embarrassed of that which I see a scream and would share with you), or did they give me courage to accept, ask for the order, and just go for it, so that my own silliness, bold change, and trying new things isn’t scary and instead just part of who I am?  I suspect both sides of my German and Irish/Italian Catholic grandparents are watching me in a loud theatre somewhere upstairs with popcorn, Irish beer, those old fancy smokes with the long filters that made the women look alluring and sexy,  while all are belly-laughing, cheering and loving me to the next journey).  I learned from family that “owning your own path” and “doing the thing you think you cannot do”* means taking chances- regardless of outcome.  We can’t regret, we simply learn as we go, and with much hope, forgive in time.  And finally, I realize: 3. I am who I am and will not stand still, regardless of the mix of friends and family that accompany on my journey.

Back to Seussville I go….I’ve missed you.

Mel

“Oh, the places you’ll go”- Dr. Seuss

*  Eleanor Roosevelt, ” You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

“Oh, the Places Mel goes…..”

A week with some very tough moments, but a weekend with some very needed laughter.  I am blessed with good souls that surround and make me smile. Thank you.

so, how about a few Murphy or Mel moments for a needed giggle…

–  Driving home from Effingham last month with colleagues, and we were caught in a tornado.  No, not just a warning, a real tornado ….and ironically just after a successful presentation to a room of nuns.  We pulled off the road and moved away from the line of trees, but my friend, Natalie, knows my travel history and looked back from the driver’s seat to say she is indeed consider never traveling with me again.

–  I was putting on lipstick this week when at the exact moment, a friend (not paying attention to what I was doing), said in relation to whatever we were discussing prior to my lipstick application, “a pig in lipstick is still a pig.”

– While presenting to a large group of 70+ year old hospital volunteers this week, I casually mentioned (at least two times), “we are very excited about our upcoming big breast cancer awareness” initiative.  Not only did I fail to highlight “breast health” rather than “cancer”, I used “big breasts” more than once.

– This weekend, at a bar that used to be older (or perhaps I was younger when I used to frequent), I heard the bartender ask a college kid what kind of Vodka she wanted…we laughed, as he told me he has to ask, because they can’t afford and don’t know there are even differences. Sign of age?  Kettle one isn’t popcorn, sister.

– My sweet daughter attended her first junior high dance last weekend.  A little bit of makeup, trading clothes with friends, giggly and texting and…of course a tornado warning. She is her mother’s daughter.

– Today my sweet girl told me I was “on denim overload”.  loll!  Wearing cute, hip, ripped Abercrombie jeans, apparently a denim jacket on top is too much.  Really?  My junior high girl is telling me what is and isn’t hip?  (and btw- “hip” isn’t cool anymore either)

–  I was gifted a present by an overhead seagull on a visit to Alcatraz this Spring.  My daughter couldn’t contain her laughter, as we were only five minutes off the ferry, and I have a day of wearing goo ahead of us.

–  Years ago at ‘Live on the Levee’ (the old days when this STL music tradition was held on the steep stairs along the Mississippi riverfront).  It was Fourth of July, and we were seeing Train.  Crazy crowds and a craving for ribs, I climbed over a chain fence and slipped while holding adult beverages and a plate of barbecue ribs…..yep, down the steep hill falling on more than one family resting on blankets and enjoying the evening.  The ribs were saved. No one however, asked for my business card.

–  The house we recently sold was on a grade just steep enough that you couldn’t see there was a descent but steep enough that when it snowed, a manual transmission struggled with the ascent.  One snowfall I was simply stuck in the middle of the road laughing to myself.  What else could I do?  It was just me -ready for work- and stuck.  On the upside, my Beverly hillbilly style neighbor thought it appropriate to shovel around me and get himself to work.  I went inside and worked from home.

xoxo,

Mel

Don’t call him Hootie.

ok, so I’ve talked about my old life travels, but I’ve left off some of the great stories about the people I was lucky enough to meet along the way…..

– Daytona Beach, High School Grad Celebratory trip. H.S. friend, Missy, lost her fake ID to a cranky liquor store owner and his ‘behind the register bulletin board’, but I did meet a boy who called himself, “Troy Whitrock III”. A little movie star fake, sure, but to date, my dad still loves that some boy would create such a name, and I would believe. Perhaps he is a broadway star today. 🙂

– College trip, Gulf Shores and New Orleans for St. Pat’s Day. The XO girls drank with Woody Harrelson and Linda Lovelace (yep, the retired porn star next to the dueling pianos), while Harry Connick and that beautiful model girlfriend strutted by the ‘oxygen for sale’ store as we found our way to the Cat’s Meow or whatever happened to be next in those early NOLA days. We missed the state line on our way back to Gulf Shores and wound up in FL, but hey, it’s not every day you spend Patty’s Day with Lovelace or Harrelson, right?

– High School Family Trip, Bermuda. Younger brother (jr high age) ran directly (yes, literally) into Coretta Scott King. Larger-than-life body guards brought him to my parents very quickly to ensure that didn’t happen again. (Course, moments later a toilet reverse flushed on another patron so the pressure was off our family and hotel security was quickly distracted.)

– College, I was a nanny in Southampton, NY. While getting ice cream downtown with my 9 + 10-year-old girls, we walked by Christie Brinkley. Yes, a regular woman and just as beautiful without Photoshop. The girls were focused on ice cream choice, I was in awe of how you look that good without makeup. Seriously, does she have a fan that moves in front her at all times to get that “natural, just blown beautiful look?”

– Same Summer, polo from the poor man’s side of the fence, to see Ralph Lauren from afar (picture the Great Gatsby). On the upside, my nanny friends and I did meet Jimmy Cliff after sneaking into a club in Montauk. That was cool.

– Won tix via a local radio station to a Rams players event in downtown STL for my husband’s birthday. Hootie and the Blowfish opened. I learned quickly his first name is not Hootie, and you most certainly do not ask for an autograph as such.

– I am not sure to be proud or slightly embarrassed that I not only show up on the Fixx website in more than one state and venue still today, but may have stalked their tour bus on more than one occasion.

– Working Women’s Survival Show. Loretta Switt has had a survival show of her own with a facelift. (but hey no differently than breast augmentation, “You buy it or you grow it, it’s still your own.”)

– “It’s not unusual…..” Or is it?……..Tom Jones really does have the died hair thing going, wearing all black and carrying arm candy. (after hours bar in Nashville, TN). For real.

– Kevin Bacon is shorter than me. (outside the MOMA, NYC)

– Hagar’s Cabo Wabo is a real place with real stars. The NFL players thought we were all that until the Victoria’s Secret models walked in. But it was sure cool when the boys we met showed up in the All Star Game the next season on our home TVs. (Cabo, Mexico)

– I was honored to fit many a Hell’s Angel for a motorcycle seat over years of motorcycle rallies…just regular guys who know cool goes away and comfort does mean something with age. 🙂

– Everlife was the teen, hip Evanesence, and my sweet girl was all up in their front row, stalking like her mama. (so proud).

– Christy Turlington, many a news/sportscaster and athlete on planes, cab stops, hotel bars, and airports around the globe…..

– And finally, yes, I stroked Kevin Costner’s chest, like a crazed fan who didn’t think straight but could only lift an arm, smile, say hello and stroke the front of his denim shirt in the man’s own restaurant (and in front of the bathrooms no less). Unable to talk beyond the silly girl giggle (and yes in my mid-30s), I ran back to the table of his restaurant in Deadwood, SD to share with my coworkers who would eventually strike up a conversation with him in the men’s room. And yes, there isn’t a need to Photoshop my friend, Kevin, either.

Not quite a Murphy, but definitely a Mel.

M

Don’t watch the movie “Ray” just before Lasik surgery.

No worries, I was just fine years ago and still enjoy 20/20 vision today.  But a good friend and I laughed about my terrible movie choices, as I shared my choice for “A little bit of heaven” Friday night just before this week’s upcoming colonoscopy.  A woman dies of colon cancer.  Really, Melissa?  Read the back before paying, would ya? It’s like Murphy’s law really does follow me around.

I’ve elected to call Tuesday morning’s test, the “Scope and Discover” test.

Being Celiac means having the “scope and discover” test every three years for life, but I’ve postponed for obvious reasons as noted in previous blogs (seriously, how much can one person handle?), and now that postponement may mean something serious.  Really not sure the nurse practitioner should have said “what other kinds of cancer runs in your family?”.  That, coupled, with “rush” …….yeah, not exactly what I needed to hear.

I’m really trying, my friends.  Today, I actually brushed my teeth, showered, grocery shopped and purchased a hot new suit for work, but the reality is I know something isn’t right, and I’m scared.

The difference this go round- unlike the last 18 months of the storm- is that I am more scared for my family, daughter and friends than me.  They carry so much worry for me, and it’s not easy to watch and know I am the burden.  Of course they would disagree because they love me, but the reality is that no one chooses this much chaos, and yet life continues to hand it over.  And without the spouse to whom I am still married interested in my well being or his bonus daughter’s feelings, it is like another sucker punch in the stomach.

I pretend a lot.  I turn my “on” switch to green, and I can be present with the experience of what surrounds me, but I also know a lot about hibernating these days.  A size 6 on the outside, I instead feel like a thick, chunky walking inner tube of “boggy” pain around my middle every day and all the time. I wear the pearls and a suit, but you wouldn’t know what’s really happening inside my heart and body.  How many others out there do the same as me?

Before they diagnosed me Celiac, I blamed the pain on my ridiculous dating tales (of which, I could entertain you for 1000 blog posts) and stress from all the travel and being away from my sweet girl.  Turns out it was likely the beer and wheat products I ate to get over the silly boys that was actually part of the cause.  This time, I assumed the pain was anxiety and well, my perfect storm, of which many of you have lived with me.

Turns out I may have instead earned myself an ulcer or the unthinkable….

On the upside, Kate Hudson is colorful and darling in the movie I should never have rented, but she finds real love in the end.  Yeah, a weird and absolutely poor choice for the weekend prior to my “scope and discover” test but a necessary distraction nonetheless.

This time, Murphy plays a trick on me.  And for goodness sakes, I paid for the rental AND turned in late.

Mel

Quirky Murphy….and Mel

As you’ve seen in previous posts, Murphy’s Law* moments tend to bring me laughs along my windy, curvy, ridiculous, scary and ‘made for TV movie’ path. Feel free to laugh along. 🙂

– On a recent night out, I wore a lovely tangerine tank dress shear enough that I was covered, but not quite shear enough to notice my tattoo could be seen from the outside. While small and dignified, it’s not exactly that which I like to showcase for strangers. And of course, it wasn’t until we were at the event that I was alerted to such a fashion faux pas. Course that is still better than my young daughter announcing to strangers at the swim club that “momma has a tattoo” …..in her outside voice. 🙂

– Who else gets ‘Kiss Cam’ attention at the Cardinal Stadium ballpark sitting next to………… a work colleague? My colleague, Scott, and I kidded about it happening before it did, as I had just been on the stadium camera a few weeks before, and agreed to stick our tongues at one another something so far-fetched actually happened. Sure enough, there we were. Both of our cells immediately started ringing.

– ……and sadly, this isn’t my only unusual STL moment of big screen infamacy…..at a previous years St. Louis Rams game, I was with a friend who accidentally spilled his adult beverage on the folks in front of us. Because my parents tickets were third row on the ten yard line (not a mistake I suspect on my dad’s part to purchase seats directly in front of the Rams cheerleaders), we most certainly received a laugh from the camera man and some face time on the internal big screen. Now, the laughs were bigger than just the camera guy.

– My first time to visit Düsseldorf, Germany with a former and favorite rehab equipment employer, I was surrounded by my new distributor friends of which only a few spoke any English but hugged, toasted and smiled a lot. With very German grandparents, I proudly ordered without help off the German menu at a big celebration for our week together. After several large adult beverages, two complete entrees were delivered to just me. After that trip, it was necessary to ask for placement next to an English speaker on all future foreign travel opportunities.

– In trying to cook flash fried spinach like one of my favorite Italian restaurants on the STL Hill, without knowing, I purchased Okra rather than spinach. I could blame it on the grocery store header signs, but the reality is I am not a cook and wouldn’t know the difference unless Okra too came packaged in the pre-made salad bag. Regardless, I cooked the green stuff and forced my husband to enjoy. But as my sweet friend, Marla, says “You ain’t learning, you ain’t liven””.

– Never drop a Junior mint on your car seat on a 110 degree STL day.

– Years ago, I politely encouraged my husband to join me in dance lessons. He wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but he was open to give it a shot. Heads up my wise women friends, don’t select Monday night football as the evening for a six-week dance class.

– After a long travel day to Europe alone, I arrived in Amsterdam to not have luggage and less than an hour before our first distributor meeting. The local rep encouraged I shop at the airport, and my luggage (and work stuff) would show in the next 24 hours. (lol! Does he know me?) While I did pick some darling European fashion, I was without some of the “essentials”. Yes, those essentials. After a few days of washing in the sink and hanging to dry after the luggage followed us one city behind every move across the Western part of Europe, I begged my friend, Bert, to take me to a Belgium department store. He however wanted to work, and well, I’m a big girl, so I shopped on my own only to find that in the middle of Belgium, English speakers are not so prevalent. Instead of bras and panties, I now fancy a nice collection of Belgian sports bras….and in the wrong size. (Luggage arrived the evening before my flight home, but I purchased a beautiful leather briefcase in Pisa to house my new sports bras.)

Murphy and me. Like peanut butter and jelly.

Mel

*http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

The smack down of STL humidity is a lot like life. It just happens.

….and we embrace, endure, unleash our creative spirit, and take the journey back to ourselves.

I tend to run at 100mph most of the time.  It’s perhaps an escape mechanism, long legs and heels, or perhaps it’s just type A madness from which I cannot escape.  But regardless, I too must crash from time to time to refresh, renew spirit and ask for spiritual alignment.

My supervisor teases me that as an extrovert, I am in my element when “on”, and as such, the energy pushes me through even the toughest of anxious situations.  But these moments do test my ability to be “on” in the same way I have always known, when my personal life “storm” isn’t as obvious publicly.  So, sometimes the crash is even harder on my spirit.

Frankly, at work, with my sweet girl or with a close friend or family, I can either escape totally from the “storm” or be candid about the real me.  And here too, I get that same release in some strange way.  But when the escape moment is over, there is not a metaphor more suitable than like walking outside into the STL humidity that smacks you in the face to bring you back to the reality of our lives.  The wall of heat that hits you hard as you walk out of a cool, safe place.

We all carry “stuff” with us on our journey.  Just this week, I learned of a peer who has been facing an emotional wound he keeps close to the vest.  And while his family enjoyed incredibly loving and optimistic news to remedy this wound just this week, it reminded me again of how we break a leg and stay home but an emotional wound hits, and we still get up, drink coffee, make the bell for the early morning meeting and go home to that reality.  It’s all around us, and yet we don’t know who embraces what and what path they take to heal themselves.

It affirms I am where I am meant to be, meaning the people who cross my path at a given moment and reach out to ask if I am ok even when they don’t know the big picture.  I am incredibly honored by the folks that read this blog and tell me when I had no idea it reached as many, and in as many ways as it has.  My original intention was a cathartic way to reach anyone when I was overwhelmed by my own loneliness, and instead, I learned so many of us face these same anxieties, fears, loss on a day by day, and sometimes moment to moment basis.  You are not alone, my friend.

Yesterday was a vulnerable day.  Last weekend was full, lovely and healing.  Folks see me and forget I have cancer, OR know the other losses, and assume the cancer is gone because the early treatments are done.  And yet, I can’t forget either.  They are my personal humidity smack down, and no one can live in my shoes but me.  The road ahead is long and windy…..and frankly, still pretty damn scary.

But my daughter and I are just two entities in God’s plan.  And we are still keeping it together- day in and day out.  My daughter is my role model for resilience and acceptance.  And she doesn’t even know the strength and love she gives me each and every day to get through this madness and mess.

I remember the first time I could see myself in the mirror after Lasic surgery years ago and thinking “where did those wrinkles come from- they weren’t there before”….lol.  I guess life is a lot like that.  We take off the glasses and reality presents itself in full view.

And then we move forward with vulnerability in some moments, with grace in others.

Om Shanti,

Mel

Mel & Murphy meet again…

so, this is my life.  always full of moments that remind me of two things:

1.  I am human.

2.  God has humor.

–  The very same evening I completed my online Department of Homeland Security Courses in prep for live coursework the following day, a friend and I were robbed in downtown STL after a nice meal.  The guy who jumped our table however, tripped on a chair and dropped my purse, so besides my friend’s sunglasses, we were lucky.  And darn it, if the restaurant and manager didn’t even offer to pick up our meal or provide a free cocktail.  What does it say that I couldn’t be freaked out in light of all I’ve faced on travel misadventure and the recent “life storm”?  All I could do was laugh and be thankful we were safe.  My daughter?  She laughed out loud at the robbers poor coordination.

– Priests should be required to wear their collars to the gym.  Feels slightly awkward to see the six pack of a priest while barely making it through my own run. Enough said.

–  I always make my sweet girl eat her veggies before a post-dinner snack.  We literally negotiate the number of carrots.  What do I do when I cook the green beans, serve them to both of us and realize I cooked them on the burner that wasn’t on?

–  After a lovely Father’s day lunch at a public restaurant, I look down to realize the carpet deodorizer I used just minutes before leaving the house was all over my feet.  Cheers, dad!

–  At the nail salon today (one I love that is cheap and the ladies in there finally recognize me (and I think understand me- think Seinfeld episode), a roach passed by my station.  I chose to ignore in favor of a great manicure.  Is that a bad thing?

– Tomorrow very early in a whole house unit council meeting at the hospital, I will present the patient, Crazy Aunt Delilah and the “goooooiter” that redefines karma, to educate staffers on why the patient-journey is real for all of us….those who wear a boa, those who appear delusional, those with lipstick on their teeth and all of us in between. 🙂  Wish us luck.  (and to think, I was beat by a bat that Halloween costume contest)

My sweet girl said, “Mom, you aren’t weird.  You are limited edition.”  Gotta love the truth we walk each and every day.

Namaste’,

Mel

Mister Rogers had it right.

I’ve lost touch with reality in light of the perfect life storm, and I know I am not alone as I receive countless emails, FB posts and Twitter direct messages confirming what I face is what you face.

At 41, am I simply wiser to life changing, or is it truly being jaded, over-thinking and being an over-the-top pensive thinker?

My music choices seem to favor darker artists these days such as the amazing Brandi Carlisle, Steve Gold or Evanesence, but my heart can be brought out of a funk when I see my daughter pin up photos of One Direction or some other boy band hottie out of Tiger Beat and just smile at me knowing I’ve been her.

Is this where each of us in our early 40s land when life is just that…..life?

We all have our own story.  And no one can live in our backward shoes, randomly tossed and sometimes flaky mind and up/down roller coaster of a heart except us.

How come no one says : “Go outside and play in the street”, like my funny grandpa? At least we knew he meant go play, be free, embrace life and innocence, give him some time for a nice cocktail, and keep yourself out of the police station.

Carefree and a summer of no shoes and catching fireflies.  Mr. Rogers really was right.  “the child is in me….and sometimes not so still.”.

Those days rocked. 🙂

maybe tomorrow I will wear yellow shoes, and prove to myself I still can be that young girl with the world in front of her.  I am grateful for a grandpa who knew catching a firefly was indeed a monumental moment to a kindergartener.  He believed in me and knew I would catch whatever I set my heart to catch.

Cheers on this Dad’s Day to my late grandpa’s and my own dad who cheer me on beyond the fireflies.

Mel

A gift

A loving friend gave me a beautiful print today…perfectly timed as it was another hard day with a major milestone through my perfect storm……. AND which I will overcome in time.

The quote is simply too beautiful to keep to myself:

– be passionate about life…
– embrace your challenges and you will be wiser….
– keep the faith
– love those on your path….
– laugh, dance, love
– laughter brings us together in spirit
– hope, believe, pray
– peace to you, my friend.

—–AB Scolarice

Many thanks to my loving stepmom for this gift, as the milestones and mud paths with support take me forward towards light.

This is life, and I WILL be ok. There is light ahead. A higher power knows and looks out for me.

I can’t explain, but every affirmation, prayer and person who reaches out for me on this every changing journey touches something deeper than they know. Sometimes hard to hear and sometimes loving, but all with good intention and love. I simply need the hand that reaches towards me….
And when I least expect, you appear.

I am blessed, humbled and loved by my family and friends..even in sadness. It doesn’t make me a victim, it makes me human and vulnerable and real.

Each of you reading this are with me on this journey. Thank you from deep, deep down.

Om shanti,
M

Sangha

Teach me what I cannot learn alone.
Let us share what we know, and what we cannot fathom. Speak to me of mysteries, and let us never lie to one another.

May our fierce and tender longing fuel the fire in our souls. When we stand side by side, let us desire to focus our desire on truth. May we be reminders, each for the other, that the path of transformation passes through the flames.

To take one step is courageous; to stay on the path day after day, choosing the unknown, and facing yet another fear, that is nothing short of grace.

– d. faulds

In our house, going to the therapist was like an annual dental checkup.

And as I reread that title, you might read two different ways. LOL!  I meant it a positive.  No joke, in our house, we look at a visit to the therapist like a check up.  You break a leg, you visit the hospital.  You get a cold, you see the doc.  Why would your mind and soul not get the same important attention?

I’ve joked in previous posts about prepaying psychotherapy for my sweet daughter after all she has watched of my silliness and life changes, but it’s not a joke anymore.  She is fully aware of why therapy is important and how it can nurture, enhance and lead us to find our authentic self…..even as the journey is ever-changing.

High achievers don’t like to fail.  And for some, therapy feels like failure.  But why?  1.  It’s private and no one needs to know. 2.  It’s healthy.  Just imagine the peace in the world if we gave ourselves permission for daily reflection, quiet time or meditation and weekly therapy, like we do to watch Big Bang Theory (for goodness sakes, we enjoy reality tv, but we don’t look ourselves in the mirror?)?  3.  If you get an unbiased source to just listen to your “stuff”, where is there downside?, and 4.  You receive confirmation, kindness, call outs on your own behavior and likely learn to be a better friend, partner, and/or parent in the process.

But I was raised to know it’s healthy.  And as such have been very transparent and open to the need in my life to ask for help and take action to receive.  So cheers to a new account or spin-off angle on the 401K or CD option for psychotherapy use after 2025!

Don’t be afraid of looking in the mirror.  It’s ok to see the real you, embrace, understand and seek support.

Namaste’,

M

p.s.  And you must find the right fit for you, and all therapists know that and want the same, so, if #1 or #2 isn’t right, keep looking.  It’s a lot like a serious relationship, but it isn’t easy if you have to “break up”.  Pick someone you will share all and not sell them on being someone you are not just to hear, you are fine.  The good ones know better.

Murphy, Mel’s way… yep, the path continues…

Most of the time, I want to cry and laugh at the same time. Especially in these last 15 months. My perfect storm (or life’s path for me right now), whatever you prefer to call it, just keeps moving along, and ready or not, my ‘Murphy Mel Moments’ have joined me every step of the way.

And thankfully so. A little humor keeps us real, right?

Perhaps that is what is needed when it feels so hard that we must get through just one more day or even just a moment….a good giggle and a profound (or not) look at our own humanness. A recent Myers Briggs analysis again demonstrates I am on off the chart ENFJ for the third time (extroverted feeling with introverted intuition). I am so out there, I could be a serial killer or Ronald Reagan and represent only 5% of the population. But the reality is, I am a perfect combo of my psychotherapist mom and attorney dad. In other words, a perfect manipulator….ok, yeah, a diplomatic markete(e)r and rockin’ saleswoman who can ask for the order. 🙂 And the fun of this role allows me the comfort level to share my own humanness and be who I am, as ridiculous as it sometimes may be. Who wears a red boa for work with red striped stockings in honor of Heart Health month? Only a marketer!

So what has happened since we last reviewed the Murphy side of Mel:

– My new car was parked on a hill last week, and while the day before I had 45 miles worth of gas, the hill was just steep enough not to allow the automatic start to catch…LOL! I am 41, and my dad had to bring me gas to get it over the hill/start line to catch. Really? Never in my life has this type A run out of gas. (for the record, there appears to be a problem with the fuel indicator)

– As recent Administrator on Call for the hospital, I was doing my due diligence at 7:30am on a Saturday to check in, while on my way to an engagement opportunity to work our booth, I ran a red light by accident. (not trying to increase volume, I promise). Thankfully, I was safe, but really? I work for a hospital.

– First day back to work after medical leave, and I can’t find my phone. Where did that darn thing go? At lunchtime, it appeared. It was in my lunchbox in the fridge. 🙂

– Would you guess only one dept. can have an office that resides on the 4th floor of one building but connects directly to the fifth of the neighbor building. Only my team can live on two floors at the same time. Perfect and quirky. No one else holds that honor.

– The week before trading in my previous car, I backed out of the condo garage to tear off the right side rearview mirror completely. I park out front now. But I have a very clean (and empty) garage.

– I realized in boxing up and donating more books to Goodwill I have purchased and read the same book 3x. Apparently, I enjoyed each time.

– New condo. Three months. Microwave stops working. Do they think I can cook, or is this a trick to get me out?

– Prepared a lovely iMovie on my personal Powerbook Mac for fun after a work event, only to have our CEO love the piece and ask to show at the upcoming BOD meeting. As I went to finish this past weekend however, I added the “juice app”- meaning, spilled juice into the machine. Yep, the machine was a goner and out of warranty. Can’t understand why the Geek squad doesn’t have a juice clause.

– Did I every mention a bird hit my spokes while training for a serious cycling event? Yeah, pretty much a downer for the rest of the ride.

– Don’t attempt travel to Brazil without a Visa. It’s important.

I’ve missed writing. Thank you for your patience and kind notes. Just feeling much fatigue and still working to find the old me. I did however Zipline with a great group two weeks ago and have a Mud Run in June, so every day I try a little harder to find my way back to good health.

Thanks for believing in me.

M


Microscope or Kaleidoscope…know your teen talk & let the colors bloom.

A good friend told me this week that his son, Levi, articulated the difference in how people use their lens on life; meaning, a microscope, a telescope, or in his case, a kaleidoscope.  I love what this says about how we each perceive the world differently. Cheers to a young man with this type of thinking.  Let the colors bloom!

My own world has entered tweendom (i.e. the edge of puberty), so our “lens on life” changes moment to moment.  It happened in a flash.  Just two years ago we were dressing American Girl dolls and holding hands in public.  Public!  Today, not so much.  Brand name clothes, texting, anxiety over the boys and fashionista challenges.

She always knows in hindsight when one has hit, but in the moment it is occurring, the rolling the eyes or stomping down the hall doesn’t make sense to either of us.  Just moments before, she has asked for ice cream or a Webkinz.

Moms and dads everywhere, how and when did that happen? No one asked me if I was ready for the transition 🙂

I’M NOT.

So, together my daughter and I have created a list of tweendom thoughts for adults.…no differently than Mr. Rogers told us in grade school (when putting on those blue sneakers with that big smile and great soundtrack), the same thoughts and approach to communication apply to all of us….young, tween, teen and old(er).  

Consider the following and apply to your own partner, sibling, parent, child or friend.  And be present.  It’s not easy, and I see myself do the same things, but hearing my own girl call me out makes it much more real.

– “I need space that is my own and alone time.”

– “I can’t do more than one thing at a time.  And if I am to do multiple things, tell me what to do first (i.e. prioritize).”

– “Don’t talk to me when I am doing something else.  What do you really want me to do?”

– “Don’t assume I understand.”

– “Don’t interrupt.  It hurts my feelings.”

– “I don’t actually know (even when you want me to) WHY I feel the way I do. Sometimes I’m just sad.” (Hormones and/or physiological balance are part of being human.)

– “Don’t leave me in the dark without information.  I jump to conclusions ” that may/may not be more harmful than you trying to protect me. (If you are upset, fragile, angry or scared, tell me why. Don’t make me guess. I don’t read minds.)

– “I don’t want to talk right now, and it’s not because of you.”

– “IDK means I Don’t Know.”  Tweens may use language differently than an adult perceives.  Ensure you are speaking the same language- both live and in text.

Good luck to all of us.  Attention span, technology, teendom, generational differences……they are ever-changing and without a handbook.  But the greatest gift of all. 🙂

Let the colors of our “lens on life” bloom!

Melissa

p.s.  In a college course I taught last Fall, they told all of the instructors that how we taught years ago doesn’t work today.  Kids’ attention span is 10-15 minutes.

Find comfort in the uncomfortable.

Do you process comfort and/or feeling uncomfortable in your life as healthy, or accept as contentment? Is that good and/or good enough? And when the uncomfortable arrives at your door- either expected or not- how do you process the feelings drama-free?

I know I’m not alone. We simply want the hole in our heart – for whatever reason it feels needy- to be filled again with light.

I’ve been taught recently the transition is about 1. attachment, 2. self-love and 3. much patience. Letting a higher power guide me to my truth, never allowing anyone to pull me from my true self again, and patiently waiting the knowledge of what will be my future.

But darn, for a type A, who likes lists and action (yes, I’m the girl who used to add “shower” just to cross off the list and enjoys a good sticky note or two), this is a tough call to action. I am in charge of my own reactions and choices- good and bad, wrong and right, past, present and future. (And I readily admit I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the path.) You see, logically, I get it, but my heart (inner guide) and ego aren’t always in the same place at the same time. And they both have a voice in each of our heads. (Example: “I don’t need the 4K sq. ft. home.” (inner guide) “But it’s so beautiful and fits my career/lifestyle.” (ego))

We are human. We are conditioned for comfort. Finding comfort in the uncomfortable is the work and perhaps a wonderful reality. But, it is work, and we must be open and gentle with ourselves.

But really, wouldn’t it just be easier to wear my shoes backwards for a month to learn the same lesson?

Sometimes you are the bug. Sometimes you are the windshield.’- Mary Chapin Carpenter (lyric)

 

Today, I’m the bug. But down the road, I will be the windshield. The rock-star feeling is a great high and very comfortable, but when a ‘kick in the stomach reality’ hits, it is icky, dark and uncomfortable. Sometimes we earn that reality. Sometimes we don’t. But it still happens. And to ALL of us. Who are you in this exact moment? And when can we accept that comfort IS possible when we are uncomfortable? Does it, in fact, push us even more, when feeling uncomfortable and that “edge” are in our midst?

“We all have both good and bad feelings. Bad is a judgment based on discomfort. Learn to accept your uncomfortable feelings as important messengers. In the balance of truthful, constructive expression, you will find harmony………….Your body holds pain from the past in pockets that manifest as illness; your emotions hold negative feelings that surface as issues, fears and behaviors; your heart holds the loss of love that causes loneliness; and your mind has misunderstandings, judgments and beliefs. Each of these becomes like a suitcase full of unwanted emotions, shut up in a forgotten closet….”*

Cheers to opening the closet and embracing our own truth.

Melissa

* Angel Blessings, Rev. Kimberly Marooney, Ph.D., p. 128. Mother’s Angels: Charmiene-Harmony

Humility at 30K’ feet.

I’m just one tiny being in this amazing entity. We all are, right?

Think about the next time you are on a plane, and as your altitude ascends, look down- your city, your neighborhood, your house, your friends, your fish….they all become something very tiny, then a flash, then just clouds…..

Is there a lesson in humility – meaning we are just a tiny piece of the bigger picture and our every day chaos is small when viewed from 30K’ feet?  Should we ask ourselves “what will this mean to me next year”?  What will this mean to my neighbor or the next generation?

Think of all we miss in terms of this moment to “just be” when ordering the cocktail, ignoring the flight attendant with the mask (I can, I know it by heart), calming the kids with whatever gooey candy is at the bottom of the bag, or starting the head bob sleeping motion because the plane’s white noise offers a peaceful moment where no one needs you. (I fully admit this traveler’s flaw.)

Instead, next time.  Look down and recognize your place.  Tiny, but with amazing capability.

Kindness matters.  Pay it forward when you get off that plane.  Pull down someone else’s luggage.  Let the rushed passenger before you go ahead of your seat.  Smile at the lady who instantly pulls out her cell phone when landing (and probably fits what would be a Seinfeld “loud talker”), but just be in that moment with those folks, and embrace your place in this big world and the problems, fears, joys and movement the people around you are also facing on their own personal life journey.

Many folks believe all things happen for a reason.  I am one of those people, but I respect that not all do.  For me, music, language and symbols appear, and these elements have always been something I can see and place together.  Do I always listen?  No.  Definitely not as I should.  Sometimes my ego gets the best of me.  But, I’ve noticed  since my recent “perfect storm”, the same word has been coming at me for several weeks – and through different teachers, music, books, church, even a movie…..  The word is “rebirth”- an awakening of some sort.  I don’t completely understand it yet, but I do think the diagnosis and the recent loss are connected.  And perhaps a tie to the Lenten season is timely.

Someone once told me that life is like a tapestry.  We don’t always understand why things happen as they do until we look back at the design  The story will then make sense.  (I’m not really seeing the story yet, and I soooo want to pull that orange thread, but I’ll let you know )

Humility takes all of this greatness, love, forgiveness, authenticity and raw “heart” and weaves together that tapestry (story).  And isn’t that what the greatest storytellers do anyway?  Teach.

BUT, we must be open to listen and not just hear. Me included. And in the last x many months at least, I haven’t listened as my own storm was brewing.  Only through quiet time for me, do I feel that gratefulness and now, humility.  These last few weeks have given me that opportunity.  Who in their right mind would say a cancer diagnosis was a gift?

Me. 

– I have been gifted knowing how many people love me- people I took for granted and/or didn’t tell directly what they mean to my life.  A network so much larger than just email or professional connections of LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook- real people with real lives and real stories that make us all human.

– I have been gifted the ability to ask for help and take action to work on being stronger, both emotionally and spiritually.  “….finding my spiritual alignment…” as one colleague suggested might be necessary.

– While I no longer have the house I sold just a few months ago, I am grateful for my “intimate” condo that provides shelter for my sweet girl and me (without the yard work and ’21 tree threat’ of falling on my house again).

– I am grateful for a professional world that took care of me in my darkest hour  – a hospital that saw a scared patient and took me under their wing of care – and even today, wants only strength and a healthy me prior to my return.

– I am humbled by the beautiful blue skies and warm winds that four weeks ago seemed impossible with snow on the ground.

– I am humbled for the health insurance I do have after seeing the medical care in both Chile and Brazilian acute care and long-term care facilities.

– I am humbled for that which I can feed my family, and the culture I can share with my daughter after traveling to areas of the world without such gifts.

– I am humbled that I have been saving for college for 10+ years, and while it likely still won’t be enough, I have the choice on how to save our funds.  (course, she might be paying for my long-term care at some point.  Cycle of life, right? 🙂

– I am humbled that my daughter continues to thrive amidst the waves of change of which she had no control.  And intuitively just knows all will be well.  (now, if getting the dog out without her rolling her eyes  were only that easy).

I am grateful for my healing.  I am humbled by my blessings.

“Humility like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.”- Henry David Thoreau

Namaste’,

Melissa

The wise Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are…”

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. by Theodor Seuss Geisel.

My friend, (Fast) Eddie Pfeiffer, used to say “Ride On”, and when he passed away two years ago doing what he loved more than anything – being on his motorcycle – those words became prophetic for all who knew and loved him.

I wrote on his Facebook page that week in May of 2010:  “We are blessed with unexpected friendship, gifts of learning and moments that change how we look at our own lives. In his sad passing this week, an old friend has reminded me to live in the moment, never compromise my spirit and embrace unconditionally. Eddie, I thank you.  There is great respect in living your life on your own terms. You will be missed.”

How many of us live our life on our own terms?  Really, truly, as WE choose?  Is it fear of not conforming?  Fear of being alone?  Fear of judgment?  Because our parents “said so” when little, or because the clothes, car, career must not be just right to others’ standards?  And how as a parent do I help my sweet girl find her fit too, unconditionally and without judgment?

As I think about Eddie today, I can think of some other wonderful people in my life that live in this same admirable way, meaning on their own terms:  Teresa E., Pam H., Sandy K., Bob N., Mike H., Kim B,, Ruth H., Brad A., Lisa D., and more…..  I admire that some folks just get it.  They say no, make change and move on when things don’t work for them.  They move forward without excuse or apology.

We are here for a short time, and in that time, we have only our own path to ride.  We can’t control or provide excuses for others’ behavior, we can only be our own healthiest “me”.

An old friend gave me a ring just months before this recent madness in my life hit its perfect storm.  The inscription reads “Be Brave”.  Whether prophetic or planned, it is a gift and a timely reminder of that which I need to work  on – living life on my own terms.

Be Brave. Love Life. And of course….“Ride On”– E. Pfeiffer

I’ll try harder if you will.

Melissa

(You can’t go around being what everyone wants you to be, living your life through other people’s rules, and expect to be happy and have inner peace. – Dr. Wayne Dyer)

So sweet is the soul mate.

Remember those “top 25 things” you want FB friends to know about you? Well, in Feb of ’09, I was new and offered up the following on my page…”#7. I am blessed to have had more than one soul mate in my life. For me, a soul mate is a person so pivotal you are never again the same.”

Since that post, I’ve experienced significant loss and don’t feel any different about what a soul mate does for you- even when you don’t ask. (Wasn’t there a Garth Brooks song about “Unanswered Prayers?”) A soul mate IS a person you embrace, love and cherish but also SO pivotal in your life, you are changed forever. Never again the same person. AND regardless of outcome.

Go home, call, email, send a note, and/or tell your own soul mate/friend that they are that person for you. They deserve to know. And you likely have done the same for them and need to hear in return. If not, at least you get a great big bear hug, and research shows human touch keeps us healthy.

I feel gratitude for those soul mates who have entered my life and made a difference in who I am today. Heartbreak has come along the way, but hey, “The Road Less Traveled” was a best seller for a reason, right? A HIgher Power has indeed blessed me with more than one person who has been a soul mate/friend on my life-learning path. I continue to learn from their action(s), while I uncover truths about my future. I am looking for light through depth and darkness, and while some moments are really tough, I am calmed in knowing that “this too shall pass”. It isn’t easy, and grief is no straight line-weakness sets in and is human nature- but there is a bridge to the other side.

(Can you tell my type A arse is scheduling grief time each day to work through the feelings? LOL- such a therapist’s kid. Actually, this was my favorite minister’s idea.)

Love shines on all of us. It’s ok to be vulnerable and ask for help. Goodness knows, I’m right in the middle of the pain as I type this. But the beautiful part is that the sun still shines, the wind still blows, my heart keeps beating, my daughter still hugs me without being asked, I still have an amazing network of family and friends (new and old) who check on me constantly, my professional life will be there when I am further along on my healing journey, and I know that whatever my future holds, I will be ok. I WILL be ok.

The soul mate for some means the partner with whom they share a lifetime and spend their last days sharing a porch swing. And many of us know those couples. Cheers to you and how wonderful to appreciate and love each other with real commitment and truth. “Let your heart be known” (S. Gold).

Sometimes we lose our way to the swing, but we still loved. Breathing and just thinking or time alone to meditate teaches us to look inside and remember the embrace, the kindness, the freedom of loving, the strength, the soul releasing and gratefulness for the power of loving-kindness that surrounds us.

And today, surrounds me. (Even if the folks at Kleenex might do well to send me a pallet-load.)

I have moments of fragility and weakness just like you do. And it can hurt – even in the deepest breath, and on the mat for me- that is something. I feel everything on my yoga mat. And sometimes, I can’t practice at all, I can only enjoy the sacred space, the love around me, and focus on my own internal breath. But that’s ok too. Yoga has no ego. It just loves me back. I guess in some ways it too has been pivotal enough to be a sort of soul friend. 🙂

Om Namah Shivaya,

Melissa

(March 8 is a full moon. I’ve read that a Full Moon is symbolic of the height of power, the peak of clarity, fullness and obtainment of desire. The nature-wise, and cosmically conscious Native American Indians recognized power of full moons to the extent they framed each month’s fullness with a contextual attribute. Meaning, they recognized the full moon in each month as having a specific (restorative, outstanding) quality.)

When a lonely girl misses human touch, is the $20 tip for the massage*, legal?

Let’s face it, we all adore “our stuff”- meaning, things we enjoy to help keep us happy and feel safe in our home space.  For my dad, it’s a Hawaiian shirt even in 30 degree weather and gloves, for mom, it’s an artsy shawl or groovy bangles, for my stepmom, it’s a glass of vino with a friend, for Zac, it’s his snowboard, for HJ, it’s DNA, a new molecule or something I can’t pronounce, and for my daughter and bonus son, it’s a smart phone, etc. We just each choose our game differently.

What brings me that “I’m safe and makes me feel like “home” feeling?”  

– My yoga mat (Nothing exists but the breath.  There is no ego.  There is only emotion and me.)

– An every night routine of reading and holding hands with my daughter before bed.  (well, the days of being called “mama” are over.  I take what I can get.)

– My Macs- all of them- and since the late, late 80s…. (it might be near cult member obsession.  I do own a bumper sticker “my mac is smarter than your honor student”.  That’s mac love.  That’s mac chic.)

– Human Contact/Touch, and lots more touch!  (OMG, I gave the masseuse a $20 tip last week. When you are lonely and miss human touch, is that legal?)

– My new pup, Kenny Rogers (even though he is shaggy today, needs a haircut as his current “doo” might be damaging his peripheral vision)

– My beautifully made and all fluffy and crisp, white “fake it to you make it Westin Heavenly Bed”- with high count sheets, comfy duvet and enough pillows you can’t find the headboard.

– A hot, bubble bath with a lavender or new yummy scent in my new bathtub

– Being on my road bike, completely in my own head with the rush and sound and smell of nature flying by me (course, that near death deer experience two years ago has put a damper on going alone these days)  Who else buys the $1K+ bike BEFORE signing up and completing the MS150?  

– My Uggs

– Scented candles – ocean, lavender, lilac, fresh linen, lovely! (though not a Yankee Candle Company fan after an “incident” with my Saab.  They didn’t come out looking so good, but I did personally send a love note to the CEO, COO, corporate attorney, CMO, and I suspect I might be on a banned list somewhere.  The local Saab dealership did however love the drama and did the repairs for free- I think they were proud of the local O’Fallon chutzpah!)

– French toast with blueberries and strawberries and lots ‘o syrup piled high (G-F of course)

– Reflexology (and for years, I hated feet, after seeing a dude on an airplane cutting this thick toenails then hanging them on the magazine rack NEXT to me….ick.)

– New perfume. (but nothing that smells like I might have smelled it over my shoulder in church, the bowling alley or on anyone over 80+ years of age.)

– A personal card that comes in the mailbox.

– Tulips, Gerberas or darn it….. any bouquet of fresh flowers that has a card and special note attached to my name.

– My family (my mom has made me the exact same G-F casserole for four years. I can’t stop her.)

– Valentine’s Day.  (Hey, I’m a markete(e)r, plus the reality is that “I love you” can never be said enough)

– Grandma used to make Shrove Tuesday donuts.  I miss those. (but I cook like my mom and they are full of “glue”)

– A beautiful piece of stained glass with the bright sun shining through.

– My Loreal #860 Lipstick. (and Bare Essentials makeup to remind me beauty isn’t a number. 🙂

– I’ve discovered how good my life is after something called “Jerseylicious” and “Big Rich Texas”.  Thanks, Kirsten.  And I’m not a TV watcher but a big reader.  This however is unbelievable stuff.  It’s fantastic and should be part of my therapy copay.

– Fine wine, great artwork and quotations that say something different to each of us.

We all need “our stuff” to feel safe in our space.  And after years and years of travel, my “stuff” and a safe space to call my own, is a necessity to a healthy me.  Love your own “stuff”!

Now, make your own list, and what you don’t have, set a goal to get.  Only you are stopping yourself.  

*  Massage Envy is a reputable business, and I am thankful for talented hands that take away pain and let me relax.  There is nothing inappropriate and clearly can’t be worse or anything near what I suspect a man does with his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. 

Why “Murphy”*?

“The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.” – unknown

 

Funny things just happen to all of us. For me, it has become a normalcy. While the previous blog posts re. the cancer diagnosis are most certainly not “Murphy moments”, the “gooooiter” growth might well be.

And while it’s very hard to top being given honors from my friend, Mark, as a combo Jackie O and Dick Butkis, my ‘Melissa Murphy Moment’s’ are just part of what make me who I am. 🙂 Thus, this blog- “Murphy or Mel” – was born.

So, you ask, what is/has been a “Melissa Murphy Moment”……(and many of you will recall and giggle and/or want to share …it’s ok, my parent’s are fully aware of what they created.)

– Just out of grad school and teaching my first college class at 28, I wore a student provided adaptive hearing device into the ladies room accidentally still turned to “on”.

– Being new in my career and first real job (probably first or second year) and wearing red panties under white linen pants.

– Using the phrase “that’s a great money shot” when reviewing final production for our new television commercial with the (national food company) CEO sitting directly next to me (without knowing what the phrase meant until later AND being the only woman in the room). (btw- there really was a photo of a dollar bill in the actual TV spot.)

– Being awarded the very prestigious “40 under 40” award by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2010 after 400+ submissions, only to have a big apology and the award rescinded, because I turned 40 just three months prior. The graduate school Dean who submitted my entry entered my birthday incorrectly. (I keep it in my LinkedIn profile and resume because I earned that damn award.) My former CEO, Bill Shaner, called me to congratulate and shared great advice…”when did we go from being the rock star to the mentor?”. His wisdom and ability to laugh at the issue dulled the hurt. Until now.

– Trading in my dying but wonderfully fun Audi for a new Saab automatic, only to drive it thru the garage door in the first 24 hours. I wasn’t used to the difference after 20+ years with a manual transmission. Mol said “Mommy, why are we driving thru the garage door?” $1000 later, I owned a new garage door too. 🙂

– Having a great idea in the shower only to not have a notepad handy. So, I found a pantyliner, wrote my thought, carried to work and planted on my desk, got distracted by another project just as the (male) Division President came in and sat down to talk. Yes, panty liner in full view.

-Locking my keys in the car two times in the same day. Once at the gas tank. Once while the car was still running at 9:30 at night at the bank drop box.

– writing 100+ thank you notes before my daughter was born signed from “Melissa and Hannah” to instead name her “Mollyanna”

– crying when I got a tattoo the size of a quarter but being told to wake up when giving birth to my sweet girl. (ok, drugs and an episode of Oprah were involved there 🙂

– Scared of horses but dating a boy who I didn’t know was a national rodeo champion until three weeks later. He said Purina-Nestle.

– Asking to borrow the brand new shuttle bus for a two mile parade to have it not start in what would have been its first day in use- Just after the parade.

– Finishing a motorcycle riding class after dropping the bike, only to send and receive a letter from the IL Dept of Transportation thanking me for NOT getting my motorcycle license.

– Marrying a man with a Golden Retriever who has been beautifully house trained and won’t even get sick on the carpet. My yoga mat however? Not part of the training and more than once a select spot for Barkley’s sickness.

– Hiring a local lawn company to ‘pretty up’ my lawn to sell my house, only to have them do one spray and completely kill the yard in 24 hours, setting me back three months of sales opps and $$$ of watering…in the worst year ever to sell a house (2011).

– Asking for a fake name at the hospital for a recent procedure and getting a name with a misspelling and then best yet, a bill to her not me.

-And travel misadventure (a future blog for sure)…likely having an FBI record for an airport bomb threat scare (misunderstanding, really) in Cleveland; Watching news crews in Chicago surround our plane after some dude dropped a bag of large white powder as he entered first class (probably beignets mix- lol); Working a motorcycle rally in Laughlin, Nevada both before and after a gang motorcycle shooting hit national news; Being on a plane to Portland where the toilet blew up; Working truck stop focus groups in New Jersey with folks who lack teeth; accidentally carrying produce across the Chilean border; Booking a flight to Vancouver and realizing they meant WA not BC; Being stuck in countless airports all over the world- both with and without luggage; and one of my personal fav’s….being placed in an unmarked car in Buenos Aires and pretend texting (that wasn’t working) while hoping I was actually headed to a hotel in the right Argentine city and not being abducted.

We all have stuff, but how can you not giggle that things just happen? This is life.

No, this is my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 🙂

*http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-true.html

Fierce Loyalty. It is our choice to give.

When I started this blog, my goal was fun and upbeat, but this past weekend of seclusion, due to the now complete radioiodine treatment, forced me to think more pensively.  This is life and what makes us real. I’m done hiding behind a pretend “everything is fine”. Sometimes, things just hurt.  And well, these last few months have indeed hurt.  A lot.

On my FB and Twitter pages last week, I wrote “Fierce loyalty is a rare, rare gift.” Several people “liked” but one friend privately disagreed.  He said no, fierce loyalty is simply, “Faith”.  He may be right, Faith is likely one of the fiercest of loyalties, but not everyone experiences in such a deep, thoughtful way, nor do they look at a higher power from his perspective.

When my former mother-in-law passed away after 25+ years living with Multiple Sclerosis, I felt something-perhaps Faith- sitting in Blessed Sacrament’s beautiful chapel. I was sitting alone and just felt something.  In retrospect, it was likely “faith” or some awareness, yet unknown to me of fierce loyalty.  Mollyanna’s grandma had been in nursing home for 10+ years, never known her granddaughter except with a teardrop or eye movement -but not in the sense to hold her or cuddle as a grandma should. But the loyalty wasn’t about her, it was about family.  Molly’s great grandma, Nell, her  grandpa Jim, her uncle ,Tim and her dad were at a Lebanon nursing home 25 minutes from their home EVERY day for those 10+ years so she would NEVER eat a lunch or dinner alone.  And she couldn’t speak back, likely didn’t have much in the way of cable and never shared a meal.  That’s real love, that’s fierce loyalty.

Loving your child with your whole heart and knowing that you would do anything in the world to protect them.  That’s love, that’s fierce loyalty. I would give my life for my girl, never move away from her for a job, and I would work any job possible to keep her healthy and thriving. I am the parent and will do what I think is best.  Will she likely need a psychotherapist some day to work through all this madness I have swirled about us? Yes, but you know what, I will pay for that too- as it was me – not her- that caused the swirl.  She is the best gift I was ever given, and I tell her every day.

I firmly believe if my Grandma Sterling had passed before my grandfather, he wouldn’t have lived for very long without her.  He couldn’t tell you what he had for breakfast, but he could tell you about the one room school-house where they met.  That’s real love, that’s fierce loyalty.

A friend and minister recently shared some private stories about experiences that happened while in seminary that made her question God and why difficult things happen to us when we ask only for love and try our darndest to do our best for a higher power.  After much discernment, she stayed true to the ministry and is today one of my favorite ministers of all I’ve seen preach.  That’s real love, that’s fierce loyalty.

My best girlfriend from the second grade will take me tomorrow to hear the results on the total body scan knowing full well it may be wonderful or devastating.  She is a single, professional mama working two jobs and going to school and still put me ahead of everything because she knew I needed her.  That’s real love, that’s fierce loyalty.

We all make our own beds in the morning (or not), and we all wake having the day to make our own.  What we do with it is ours.

Loyalty is our choice to give…or not.

I am not in a good place right now.  I am sad and very, very scared. And I fully admit to needing help.  But I continue to breathe, pray, love my little girl and wish for fierce loyalty from the people who cross our paths.

Namaste’

It’s radioactive Friday. Iodine tastes better than a pre-colonoscopy beverage.

FB, Twitter and the email world have shown me love and healing I never dreamed.  I wish I could hug Steve Jobs and that Zuckerberg dude directly.  Wow- thank you to the now hundreds of notes and stories, prayers and eHugs that have come my way.  And check out the jpgs at the end of this post..priceless….

I am officially radioactive but no superpowers yet.  Go to your window and look for the glow.  It might be an early Mardi Gras bead being thrown high in the air of STL parties, but it could just be me. (They said superpowers take a few weeks to kick in. At that point, look for a pink sparkle cape and a big smile.)

Today was the (first) treatment.  It’s called radioiodine therapy*, and it is specifically used to treat Thyroid Cancer.  The anxiety is much worse than the actual beverage.  It’s small and doesn’t taste much more than a little aluminum foil mixed with warm tap water that has been sitting on the kitchen sink too long.  So, really, in the big picture, not a big deal and oh sooooo much better than that which you drink before a colonoscopy.

I love however that the nurse in the room puts on all these clothing protectors and big rubber gloves, but they put a small white paper cloth over my chest (with tape in the back no less) and I sit in my skinny jeans and pink sweater waiting to start.  Not even glasses. Seriously?  Oh well, I guess drinking it is much worse than losing a pair of my favorite Dansko shoes.

Course, we are talking about radiation in a contained lead package that has to be ordered from another facility and isn’t housed in the hospital for safety reasons. Literally. They have to order it once the patient has the consultation to ensure they will go through with it because it is so expensive and well, you know…radioactive.

They also actually measure my radioactivity before I leave AND after I set off an actual Geiger counter. For real! She takes out a human size ruler, stands far away, students are watching, a loud buzzer is going off, and they are watching a Geiger counter score the success of the treatment in my body. Freak’n science, incredible! (Mr. Gattung at OTHS would be so proud of me. And I only remembered his “vette” (meaning chevet). I should really get that A now.) (Thank goodness my brother, HJ, is a PhD radiochemist to explain what I ingested to my parents in a way that doesn’t scare more than necessary.)

Regardless, we go back Tuesday for a total body scan to determine if the tumors have spread beyond the right (and to my surprise, also left) thyroid lobe.  All were in fact papillary so if “you are going to have thyroid cancer, this is the best you can have”.  Comforting.

I will know partial results after that scan and on that day.  There will be blood work in six weeks and six months, plus any additional treatments pending next Tuesday’s total body scan, meaning more scans every one to five years for the rest of my life depending on what we find.

This on top of my every three-year colonoscopy.  Bazinga!

MU alum is kicking cancer's ass!

! 

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-131#Medical_and_pharmaceutical_uses

** MU Live Strong logo…http://instagr.am/p/mWfOC/

dating is a lot like picking a new company to call home.

Seriously, what happens with DNA? How is it I am the marketer/advertising geek, and both of my brothers are math/science wizz-like? Maybe I should take credit for leaving part of my own DNA so theirs could double. Wait, that wouldn’t double…see, exactly my point.

well, when one brother has recently finished his PhD in chemistry and asks his older but worldly sister for advice on how to pick the right company when multiple offers present themselves, how can I resist but compare my professional and personal dating drama…..

Imagine moving in with someone you JUST met after one or two dates, maybe a meal, no sleepover, and if lucky, more than a few hours spent together talking about real issues, not just surface stuff. A new company is not much different. It’s a second home.

Ask yourself what it will be like to get irritated and find resolution with new people you’ve not spent years together getting to know (and a quick Meyers Briggs doesn’t change us overnight)?

Will you have room to assert your opinion even BEFORE asked?

Meeting the kids and parents (meaning, those you manage or those who manage your own supervisor) – My experience is the more you meet the staff in advance, the smarter and stronger your second home will be. You are “on” with the big wigs, but you are in the trenches with peers and the on the ground supervisors. If you haven’t met them, ask. What does it say if the company doesn’t allow? The goal being to learn how open the company treats employees- do the colleagues really “get” the company vision, are they empowered to make change, do they know their own succession plan, are they threatened, etc? The best matches- at least for me- are open and ready to offer growth in the public eye.

Imagine brushing your teeth next to the folks you met (b/c traveling, late nights and long days means getting to know someone very very well).

Imagine a peer steals an idea and markets as their own. How will you address or will you chose long relationship over the short term moment? In essence, you are signing up for a second home, and without the dating or really getting to know culture. Consider which company you know you can call a peer out and still end as comfortable colleagues who work as a team.

Ask yourself what it felt like to walk in and out? Is the vibe a match for you? Not b/c you want the role and they want you- remember this is like a date, and you are both courting today. In a few short weeks, that part is gone, and you are part of a team. The vibe must be win-win.

What did they wear, how did they speak to you, was it conversational, all biz, comfortable and open, etc? And what works for you- 8+ hours a day?
This is your second home, and it won’t feel like a home for a while. You will feel displaced, so finding a confidante early and letting them do the talking (while you observe without offering big change immediately) is critical. Regardless of what you choose, don’t jump in and start making changes in the first 90 days. Observe, make note, think at 30k’. Time will allow for the opportunities you see for change in time.

Money is just money. Don’t make a call because of a higher salary. It will come if the fit is right. And if not, own your own path and move forward.

The fit MUST be right, and only you can trust your inner guide to make that decision for you. Just listen.

the nutcracker wannabe

So, like many little girls, I wanted to be a prima ballerina.  Come on, who else wouldn’t want torn up toes, knots in their feet, hair pulled and sprayed so far back your face hurts…. in exchange for those beautiful long pink tutu’s?  They look flawless under the spotlight, and beautiful men throw you in the air and never drop you (unlike your larger but angry younger brother does when he is mad at you for putting nerd candy in his bed and telling him they are mouse droppings).

Every year mom took us to see The Nutcracker at the Fox in STL.  I loved getting dressed up and waiting for the curtains and the beautiful music. It was an annual start to holiday heaven.

There was some curiosity about why the male leads worse such tight (tights) (and without the unitard they give to male wrestlers), but perhaps that is why the tickets cost so much, and the majority of the audience are women.

Regardless, I loved the ballet and wanted to name my daughter, Clara. My husband at the time was not in love with the name, but I kept in my heart for down the road.  (for the record, my daughter doesn’t like the name we chose in addition to Clara, so I was screwed unless she was baby X and could name herself once a tween).

It’s 11 years later, and my sweet daughter and I have decided it’s time for a new pup.  She picks the litter of tiny lhasapoos from this cool Posh Puppy rescue in downtown- everything is pink, and I’m thinking I need to be a good mom and let her name the pup, but how can I politely encourage “Clara”?

Well, needless to say the pup my girl chooses is a boy, and while I explained that neutering makes him gender neutral, she was not buying the sale for “Clara”.

We came home with ‘Kenny Rogers’.

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